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Open Reason. A personal proposal
Author: Javier Sánchez Cañizares
Published in: María Lacalle Noriega, ed. Diálogo entre las ciencias, la Philosophy y la teología. MFV, Madrid 2019, 329 p.
Publication date: 2019
discussion paper Winner of award Razón Abierta 2018.
It is well-born to be grateful. The first word that should come out of my mouth in this great meeting is thanks to the organisers of the Open Reason Awards, to the jury and to all the participants. Thanks are due because grace and justice complement each other, not oppose each other, and because all of us who are part of this dialogue between the various disciplines of the human knowledge serve as inspiration to others in this exciting adventure. David Deutsch, a not particularly religious author, in his book The Beginning of Infinity, illustrates in a masterly way how with the appearance of the intellectual knowledge "infinity" has arrived in the universe1 and it is here to stay. Perhaps the concept of infinity provokes a certain reticence in some, but that is not my intention. There are many kinds of infinities, as Georg Cantor already intuited with his theory of transfinite numbers in the 19th century, perhaps that of human thought is one of the weakest, but it nevertheless maintains all its active potential because it is always possible to think more.2 What better reminder for a congress about open reason?
The goal of these papers is to highlight how this interdisciplinary dialogue between the various dimensions and aspects of knowledge can be taken forward. If we do not want to fall into an anachronistic whig,3 anachronistic, and defend a certain historicity of knowledge, an autobiographical perspective can be of great help financial aid. As a child I was lucky enough to go to a Marist Brothers' high school where science was explained with rigour and seriousness. And perhaps it was also fortunate (or providential) that in my teenage years (premillennial, one should say) I was able to watch all the episodes of the series Cosmos, starring the late Carl Sagan. I remember these facts because I consider them to be the main causes of my interest in studying physics. I really liked mathematics for its rigour and accuracy, and I was (and still am) very clumsy at doing any experiment subject . So why not study fundamental or theoretical physics? Over time, that question of mine has been transformed into another one: how can there be people who do not study physics or, moreover, are not even interested in it?
The point is that for me, naturally, learning science, and more specifically physics, was from the beginning a way to get to know God, his creation and to give him glory. I remember my father saying that he had heard me say that I wanted to study physics to get to God. He understood very well, existentially, the spirit that animated those early heroes of the scientific revolution, for whom knowing nature went hand in hand with their faith in an intelligent God, who created us to share everything with us, including his knowledge. I have never been able to understand the attitudes that reject intellectual curiosity as something dangerous or that see the search for knowledge as an attitude of arrogance and lacking humility.
Physics, therefore, was my first travelling companion, and I believe it still is. I still remember the intellectual satisfaction of seeing the conic forms for the orbits of the planets derived in the second year of degree program from Newton's laws, or the profound beauty that lay behind the requirements of invariance and symmetry to develop the theory of relativity. Let's just say that, naturally, I was struck with an awe similar to that which shook Albert Einstein.4 Why can we understand so much of the universe? As time has gone by, I have come to realise that this is perhaps the mystery of mysteries for the scientist. At heart, no scientist is a positivist or a pure instrumentalist. They all want to know reality and they know that they are getting to know it through scientific discoveries. Scientific activity is not simply a task of classifying and ordering phenomena, as words are classified alphabetically in a dictionary of any language. No. We all know how limited the usefulness of a dictionary is for learning a language. The scientific knowledge reveals more and more deeply the intimate structure of nature; the scientist participates in the secrets of the universe in an analogous way as the expert in a language understands better and better the intimate structure that connects the syntax and the meaning of the terms he uses. The scientist begins to penetrate the natural language, but does such a natural language exist independently of the peculiar structure of the human knowledge ? I will come back to it at the end of this contribution.
My history staff goes from physics to Philosophy and, especially, to theology without interruption. After finishing my programs of study at doctorate, I accepted the possibility of doing the institutional programs of study in theology in Rome at the beginning of this century. I saw this as a unique opportunity in continuity with my intellectual journey. I never thought of the programs of study of Philosophy and theology as a requirement for ordination. After a decade devoted to physics, I was well aware of its limitations, unanswered questions and unclear heuristic procedures (there's no such thing everywhere), but the flame of the great questions of the universe was still burning. How could I not see programs of study theology in continuity with these interests?
The problems of "science about God
During my programs of study on physics, I had been fortunate to have the guide of Fernando Sols, currently Full Professor at the Complutense University. I met Fernando thanks to his brother Ignacio, mathematician and philosopher, with whom I already had a great friendship. Ignacio was for me the best example of a wise Christian. A man of faith who, at the same time, is a master in his peculiar discipline, algebraic geometry, and who knows the history of ideas well enough to point out the similarities that arise in the great questions of human thought. With Fernando I learned to be more specific in my research. There were, and there are, ill-posed questions and pertinent questions. It was necessary to know how to get rid of the former and focus on the latter. Part of the intellectual learning process is to know how to define problems that give hope of a solution, without that meaning to reduce the whole intellectual life to them. Perhaps the latter is part of the problem that afflicts a good issue of professional scientists today: closing their intellectual field to the sole consideration of problems for which there is a well-defined method of resolution, while at the same time, unfortunately, forgetting that the method is a living, changing path that evolves throughout history.
My progress in theology was indebted to many Roman professors, but above all to Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti, who offered me his guide to enter the world of fundamental theology, the theology of revelation and the Fathers of the Church. His rigour in argumentation and precision did not waver with my new guide (I still remember his delicate way of rejecting biased or unbalanced chapters or conclusions in my thesis ). But I do remember him asking me for patience if I wanted to make a serious intellectual transition from physics to theology. He spoke to me, according to his experience staff, of the need to wait several years to get used to the theological mode of argumentation, coming from where I was coming from. At this point, I am not convinced that I have succeeded.
Let me outline, if only in broad strokes, the problem of the "science of God" as I see it. The Second Vatican Council reminds us that Sacred Scripture must be like the "soul" of Theology.5 Certainly this is how many theologians and many preachers try to live it when they proclaim the word of God in that work so essential to the life of the Church as reflection on the faith. But what is the body, then, one might ask? Christianity is not a religion of the book and there is no such thing as pure faith. It is not a meteorite that fell from the sky but is impregnated from the beginning by the human word. Even this way of speaking is probably too poor to describe the mystery of a God who, in his ineffable condescension(synkatabasis), communicates through human words. Interpretation is inherent to Sacred Scripture. But from where to take the criteria for interpretation? The last Council encouraged attention to the content and unity of Scripture, taking into account the living Tradition of the whole Church and the analogy of faith.6 But where is the analogy of being? St. John Paul II had to remind us that Philosophy is necessary for theology, a theology that aims to offer knowledge and not just pious considerations.7 The question is then: does the worldview offered by today's science also enter here?
It is sometimes common to meet theologians who do not take science too seriously. Perhaps a little self-criticism is in order here. There is sometimes a certain underlying idea that science, although it should be respected, should not be taken too seriously in addressing the big questions about God, man and the world because of its provisionality. The resource to Karl Popper and his criterion of falsifiability for scientific theories seems to give rise in many philosophers and theologians to the idea that what is today will not be tomorrow in the scientific world. Why then spend energy and energy in dialogue with science or try to build bridges to contact with islands of knowledge that will be swallowed up by the next scientific tsunami?
reportAs I was writing these words, I was reminded of the questions that Richard Dawkins put to the then Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in the now famous discussion at the Sheldonian Theater of Oxford University in 2012, because of their parallels with the topic in question:
When we think about who wrote Genesis, there is no reason to think that he possessed special wisdom or a special knowledge . Why do you want to waste your time reinterpreting a Genesis that makes no sense in the 21st century? Why not simply connect with what science knows in the 21st century? Why don't you talk about moral or spiritual issues as you understand you should talk about them? How can it help to rely on a text that someone wrote 800 years before Christ?8
This is, of course, an inverse parallelism. In the two situations I am contrasting there is a somewhat closed starting position (as if the Bible or science says all that is necessary for man) and, at most, it is conceded that the other discipline, science or the Bible, can say something if it submits to the standards pre-set by the superior discipline . But, in itself, for the religious or scientific fundamentalist, "subaltern" science can add little.
Leaving aside scientism, which I do not think is the issue at hand here, it seems to me that there is a misunderstanding in the understanding of the value of scientific theories and models by many even renowned philosophers and theologians. Science is not provisional in its entirety. There are scientific advances that have occurred irreversibly. Let us say that they have arrived and are here to stay. That does not mean that such advances offer complete or total truth. But they do provide a framework of understanding from which progress in the scientific knowledge of the universe will be determined and new truths will be reached, even if these remain partial and incomplete. To give an example, the theory of evolution, while it may have specific problems to solve, offers an undeniable framework for our understanding of the world: that of an evolving universe, where change and adaptation are central concepts. To claim that such a view is provisional is simply to ignore history and scientific epistemology.
We must therefore ask ourselves whether believers' reflection on faith and the Christian Philosophy itself are being serious about sincerely engaging in dialogue with the scientific worldview. I do not know whether the problem is one of fear or of misunderstood prudence. Lest I be accused of going too far in my self-criticism, let me quote a few words of Benedict XVI in his last conversations with Peter Seewald, in response to the question of where God is in the world:
It is really important that we renew our thinking in many respects, that we do away with these spatial notions completely and understand things in a new way. .... It is first and foremost theology that has to work more deeply on these questions in order to give people representative possibilities again. Here the translation of theology and faith into today's language still has enormous deficiencies; it is necessary to create representational schemes that help people to understand today that they do not have to look for God in a specific place. There is much to be done here.9
It seems to me that it should not hurt us to recognise this problem. Let us have the humility to recognise it, if we do not want believing thought to be reduced to a cultural ghetto, in the form of museums for tourists or libraries of books for historians of religions.
The multidisciplinarity at the University of Navarra
After a few years teaching Moral Theology, Providence took pity on me and I had the opportunity to join group "Science, Reason and Faith" (CRYF) at the University of Navarra, thanks above all to the good work of Professor Santiago Collado. I had already met its founder, the late Professor Mariano Artigas, when I was studying physics in Madrid. Now, however, I was offered the possibility of dialogue in a truly interdisciplinary environment, with professors with a dual humanistic and scientific background. I immediately understood that this was what I was going to dedicate the rest of my academic life to.
It may seem obvious, but multidisciplinarity and efforts to broaden our rationality necessarily require a prior stage of dialogue. Perhaps this is the most valuable thing I have found in the CRYF: the opportunity to dialogue regularly in the seminars that are organised, open to all, in a friendly environment, but without the pressure of having to carry out an apologetic task, to please an enthusiastic audience or to ensure the rigour and precision of a scientific article at all costs. Dialogue begins with the interest staff in what the other has to say, because there is the hope and even the desire that what is said will serve to open horizons, if not in one's own discipline, then in the worldview of the world that each one arrives at on his or her own particular path.
I have always had the suspicion -perhaps totally unfocused- that those who do not wish to intervene in this dialogue, hiding behind the different methodologies, fall into what could be called the "dictatorship of the method", forgetting, at best, that methodology is a mature product of a human knowledge that has had to take many, many risks to develop hypotheses, models and theories that have allowed it to advance and renew itself. I must say that here I am also indebted to the epistemology of risk, a term happily coined by Professor Arana. The point is simply that, if we want to move forward, we need to take risks. We must bring novelty and not be afraid of selection. Creativity staff and humble submission to the opinion of the wise and knowledgeable are necessary, perhaps especially in one's own field, where there is more risk of becoming overconfident and going off the road. Is it possible to be more evolutionary in epistemology?
However, the epistemology of risk would be naïve if it did not recognise that not all change is possible or desirable: that there must be some firm instructions in each discipline that are peacefully accepted (although sometimes it can be very difficult to make them explicit) and that only by respecting these instructions does it make sense to introduce changes and new points of view in cognitive construction. But is this not how nature also works? Are we not witnessing a growing process of complexity in the systems that appear? My predecessor as director of the CRYF, Professor José Manuel Giménez Amaya, to whom I owe so much in terms of learning management tasks, warned me of the growing process of formalisation that is occurring in nature, apparently without prior scientific explanation. This is one of the keystones for reflection in the contemporary Philosophy of evolution. The increasing complexity in the evolution of the universe is not an epiphenomenon produced because of our specific way of looking at reality. The universe has a manifestly non-ergodic, directional character, as indicated by the second law of thermodynamics and the very low initial entropy of the Big Bang. There is enough science at data to reject that the appearance of life on a planet like the earth is a mere thermodynamic fluctuation. Instead of exploring the full range of possible physical states that would be accessible to it, the universe itself seems to concentrate on enabling the emergence of systems that maintain their individuality and unity. Whether the dissolution of death or erosion eventually triumphs, it brings with it the emergence of new systems, ever more robust and integrated in the face of the threat of the second law. Of course, one is free to maintain that all this is nothing but a fluctuation in a universe that is much larger than we imagine (a multiverse), a multiverse that is much larger than we imagine.10 (a multiverse), but the burden of the scientific test falls on the one who defends it and, above all, the task of scientifically explaining the breaking of the symmetry implied by the existence of a thermodynamic arrow of time.
Thus, the complexity relating to the evolution of life and the evolution of the universe are more deeply linked than one might naively think.11 Unfortunately, some biologists seem to be unaware that there is at the moment a more fundamental science than biology and that the inert subject has its own dynamics that would surprise many. This is certainly one of the strong messages of "Singular Universe", which is also indebted to the work Creative Nature, recently published together with professors Javier Novo and Rubén Pereda.12
But maybe I'm speeding up a bit, as happens in today's films that start at the end, and I need to do flashbacks. One of the defining characteristics of the group CRYF is the relevance of philosophical mediation so that the dialogue between science and faith can be fruitful. This was one of the hallmarks that Professor Artigas wanted to imprint on the group and I can assure you that we are convinced that we want to respect it.
Personally, I have always been struck by the insistence of Artigas and other experts13 and other experts14 to speak of the presuppositions of scientific activity. There are various ways of classifying these presuppositions, but they all point to a central idea. Science is not an isolated or unique human activity. All scientific knowledge starts from some presuppositions, which we could call pre-scientific, prior to the scientific activity itself, which allow its successful development. Although we may disagree on other issues, this is one of the great reminders of the current of constructivist empiricism in the Philosophy of science currently defended by Bas van Fraassen15 and, in his own way, by Mariano Artigas. Science constructs its object, and sometimes through hard historical tests. There is no shame in this, quite the contrary. Science is not a substitute for the human knowledge , it is human knowledge . How can we not recognise its debt to the conceptualisations, judgements and reasoning carried out in each epoch of history? At the same time, mature scientific activity, established and developed in a way peculiar to each discipline, is a kind of high speed of the human knowledge . Once the terrain has been mapped, thanks to the work of explorers, it is possible to experience new regions of reality in an increasingly universal and simple way.
The recognition of the impossibility of an isomorphism between reality and scientific theory, the existence of a radical incommensurability between reality and scientific knowledge , proved extraordinarily fruitful in my case to unmask the internal contradictions of those who defend, for example, an identity theory between the mind and the brain. For this, another twist was necessary: to resort to the subtleties of the most fundamental theory of subject currently available to us, namely quantum mechanics. This is certainly not the place to discuss the epistemological peculiarities of quantum mechanics.16 Suffice it to mention here its intrinsically indeterministic character (we do not know how the ultimate determination of nature comes about)17 and the need to add cognitive prescriptions to connect the formalism with reality and make it predictive.
I will come back to the latter in a moment, because it is perhaps the crucial element in understanding the relevance of anthropological and ethical dimensions in the scientific knowledge of nature. But, coming back to the so-called mind-brain problem, working together with researchers of this group of Institute for Culture and Society at my university, I could discover how most neuroscientists who maintain the emergence of human mind, consciousness and freedom as a product of brain activity, still maintained a 19th century view of physics or, at best, blindly relied on decoherence processes to dismiss the relevance of quantum mechanics in the understanding of the mind-brain problem. Interestingly, no one beyond philosophers of physics dedicated to interpretations of quantum mechanics seemed to understand that the decoherence programme does not serve to solve the problem of determinacy in nature and, at the same time, rests on a system-environment partition that is pre-physical and responds to the interests of researchers. In other words, advocates of a mind as a product of the brain must implicitly rely on quantum decoherence for their future theory to work, but for decoherence to work, it is necessary to invoke a mind that realises the system (neurons)-environment (rest of the brain or reality) partition.18
I must admit that the field of quantum mechanics and its interpretations has always been my favourite. Returning to it also gave me the opportunity to discuss the inadequacy of any compatibilist position in the discussion about the existence of freedom.19 but, above all, it gave me the possibility to return to the philosophical reflections of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics and to understand more deeply the wise complementarity present in the standard, Copenhagen interpretation, sponsored by Bohr and Heisenberg, as opposed to those who dream of a unitary quantum mechanics, which does not need to resort to the postulate of the reduction of the wave function after a measurement has been carried out.
It is worth discussing the problem in some detail because, in a way, it reflects the constant that I have come to understand more and more deeply in my intellectual journey staff: a paradigmatic case of symmetry breaking. Contemporary physics is too well acquainted with this resource to explain the concrete realisation of one solution out of all the possible ones, within the symmetry of the models in question with which each problem is dealt with. Now, in quantum mechanics, this is the measurement problem: why, among all the possibilities offered by the wave function, is only one of them updated when we make a measurement? The quantum decoherence programme holds great promise for an explanation of why some quantities are more robust than others in the framework of very specific physical interactions. Let's say that the decoherence programme, which does not depart from the quantum formalism, justifies the preference of the nature of some observables over others. Yes, it is just that it is unable to predict with its pure formalism what those observables should be. For this it is necessary to connect the formalism with our observations, which are still at the basis (one could almost say as a transcendental) of the very possibility of developing a scientific theory, such as quantum mechanics, that has to do with the reality we experience.
Thus, in one of my latest works, collected and expanded in "Singular Universe", I am devoted to highlighting the presuppositions and requests of principle in which Zurek's existentialist interpretation of quantum mechanics incurs.20 The existentialist interpretation makes the theory of evolution manager of the selection of concrete physical observables (such as the position of objects or the wavelengths of radiation) through which humans know the world. The adaptive advantage of such observables, the existentialist interpretation continues, is predictability: they offer us the possibility of anticipating what is going to happen, which is obviously an imposing adaptive advantage. So far so good, were it not for the fact that nowhere in the quantum formalism is there anything to do with predictability. The latter, evidently, has to do with the relative stability of the objects of the human knowledge : that capacity to possess natural forms in an immaterial way (intentional, the more classical would say), without the need to become the known material compound.
In other words -and leaving aside the question of ultimate determination-, in order for everything to fit together and make sense, even the formalism of quantum mechanics needs the budget of our most basic observations. To try to derive the entire scientific knowledge - quantum theory itself - from its pure formalism ends up in a request for a principle, a circular reasoning that forgets the assumptions from which scientific activity itself makes sense: an activity of the human knowledge with determined ends, interests and limits.21 To try to isolate the scientific knowledge of nature from the more directly human, anthropological and ethical dimensions of knowledge means falling into a loop of no return, which ends up depriving science itself of meaning. Quine was not wrong when he criticised the neopositivist and falsificationist proposal , noting that, strictu sensu, a scientific claim is unfalsifiable, because the rest of the presuppositions on which the experimental verification rests can always be changed, making them responsible for the negative result of a test. Read positively, this means that scientific assertions are in solidarity with the rest of the propositions that make up, in general, the human knowledge . I am well aware that this last statement is too diffuse, but it cannot be otherwise, as I see it, when we are talking about human cognitive capacities: we know reality in our own way -an immaterial knowledge based on a sensory knowledge that depends on the physical scale in which we move. That is why, among other things, our knowledge is not (all of) reality.
What does an open reason mean?
These last considerations lead me to the final part of my contribution. What meaning should we give to an open reason? What current physics teaches us, in my view, is the open circularity between nature and our knowledge of it. In speaking of the singular universe, apart from bringing to our consideration the unresolved (and quite possibly unanswerable future) questions in current physics, I wanted to show how these singularities take us back to the presuppositions on which science itself is based. Rather than limits, these presuppositions are conditions of possibility that, logically, remain at the margins of science, but at the same time make it possible. In the latter case, we are talking about the profound complementarity between theories and observations. Perhaps this is also the ultimate meaning of Bohr's principle of complementarity, deeply misunderstood and controversial to date: our observations determine the form of scientific theories in a radical way, much more profoundly than we think.
What is truly astonishing is that there can be such a connection between observations and theories, between knowledge sensible and intellectual: something, by the way, that happens to be uniquely human, if we pay attention to that peculiar synthesis of the material world and the spiritual world that occurs in it. Attention! This is not in the least a denial of the evolutionary paradigm, on the contrary, it seems that we are in a singular universe, because, as its singularities show, it turns out to be a universe with a history that allows the emergence of individual systems in which, in one of them, the immaterial knowledge is possible: a universe capable of harbouring individuality, life and knowledge, a universe that can come to know itself in the human being, as its most precious fruit. Immateriality, present from the beginning in the unfolding of the various natural forms, reaches its apex in the intellectual knowledge of which human beings are capable: we can test the universe without having to risk our lives through the dangerous game of essay and error to which mere variability leads Genetics. Perhaps science itself is one of the best fruits of this immaterial knowledge , being in itself, as Husserl reminded us, a profoundly spiritual activity.22
It is then truly paradoxical that science can be used as a weapon against religion or as a defence of crude materialism. We physicists are very used to dealing with subject, but subject alone is a very difficult thing to understand; moreover, it is unintelligible - as the good Aristotelians would say - without some subject formalisation. It is striking that our standard model of subject today has six quarks, six leptons and a similar issue of intermediate bosons that mediate the interactions between the fundamental particles. Almost all physicists hope that there is some more fundamental symmetry behind it, but talk of pure subject... That is big talk and mostly misguided. Perhaps tout-court materialism no longer exists today, but some substitutes hide under the umbrella of metaphysical naturalism, the belief that there are only physical causes in the universe. Understand me well; of course, I have little to object to the methodological naturalism of scientific activity, to which we should all subscribe. I can even understand the position of the scientist who does not want to leave his demarcation zone (i.e., his region). But to maintain a metaphysical naturalism from there on is to have understood neither what nature is, nor what the human knowledge is, nor, of course, what science is.
Allow me to tell you an anecdote. A few months ago, I had the opportunity to participate in a discussion organised by a association of students from my university. I must admit that I went to this event a bit misled. At first I thought it was just about evaluating a discussion of students on the hackneyed topic science vs. religion. When the students' discussion ended, I was surprised to find myself having to participate in a subsequent roundtable with professors from other universities on the same issue, in response to questions and requests from the audience. One of the attendees turned to me to reproach the contradictory statements in the Bible, citing, in particular, a passage from the book of Leviticus that I cannot remember right now. When I was able to speak, I made reference letter to the problem of literary genres in the Sacred Scripture and the complicated problem of interpretations. To my surprise, one of the participating professors then took the floor to say: "See? That's the good thing about science; there are no interpretations in science". Then, somewhat timidly, I tried to clarify a little and replied: "Well, there are interpretations, for example, of quantum mechanics". My interlocutor's subsequent response was somewhat disconcerting for me: "Yes, well, but those are interpretations in a different sense". Anyway, we left it at that.
It seems to me, therefore, that an expanded reason is a reason without fear, which always seeks to understand more (that thinking that never ends) about the world, even if it is aware of its limitations. It is a reason with different registers, because there is a rationality inherent in every part of the human knowledge but, at the same time, a reason that is capable of dialogue, because there is a deeper logos on which it can rely and not become entangled in different language games. And, of course, a reason that dares to move from phenomenon to foundation.23 This is also possible from the most basic sciences and, for this reason, I suggest that philosophical mediation should be carried out not in the abstract, but in concrete terms, taking occasion from the universally accepted language of each scientific discipline to make its implicit and presuppositions explicit. A Philosophy that is not only Philosophy of science in general but Philosophy of mathematics, physics, biology or neuroscience, in particular. A Philosophy that allows each person to follow the ascending path of the sciences towards God and also the descending path of divine revelation to the language of mankind, which are one and the same path. Only in this way will we be able to glimpse those representative possibilities of which Benedict XVI spoke to us. And only in this way will we be able to renew the commitment of faith to reason, through a circularity that does not close in on itself, but which, by admitting more dimensions, becomes a helix that rises up until it reaches God. So, if we are talking about open reason, let me end with my favourite quotation of the Pope Emeritus:
One does not begin to be a Christian - and therefore the believer does not bear witness - through an ethical decision or a great idea, but through meeting with the Person of Jesus Christ, "who gives a new horizon to life and thus a decisive orientation" (Deus Caritas Est, no. 1). The fruitfulness of this meeting is also manifested, in a particular and creative way, in the present human and cultural context, above all in relation to the reason which has given rise to modern science and related technologies. employment Indeed, a fundamental characteristic of the latter is the systematic use of the instruments of mathematics to be able to act with nature and to put its immense energies at our service.
Mathematics as such is a creation of our intelligence: the correspondence between its Structures and the real Structures of the universe - which is the budget of all modern scientific and technological developments, already expressly formulated by Galileo Galilei with the famous statement that the book of nature is written in mathematical language - arouses our admiration and raises a big question mark.
Indeed, it implies that the universe itself is intelligently structured, so that there is a profound correspondence between our subjective reason and the objective reason of nature. It is thus inevitable to ask whether there must not be a single original intelligence, which is the common source of one and the other. In this way, it is precisely the reflection on the development of the sciences that takes us back to the creative Logos. It radically changes the tendency to give primacy to the irrational, to chance and necessity, to redirect our intelligence and our freedom to the irrational as well.
On these instructions it is once again possible to widen the spaces of our rationality, to reopen it to the great questions of truth and goodness, to bring together theology, Philosophy and the sciences, fully respecting their own methods and their reciprocal autonomy, but also aware of their intrinsic unity. This is a task that lies ahead of us, a fascinating adventure worth embarking on, in order to give new impetus to the culture of our time and to give full citizenship to the Christian faith.24
1 Deutsch, D., The Beginning of Infinity. Explanations that Transform the World. London: Penguin Books, 2011.
2 Cf. Polo, L., Curso de Teoría del knowledge II. Pamplona: Eunsa 1989, pp. 130-131; idem, Curso de Teoría del knowledge III. Pamplona: Eunsa 1988, p. 33.
3 Meléndez Sánchez, J., De Tales a Newton. Ciencia para personas inteligentes. Pontevedra: Ellago Ediciones 2014, pp. 15-17.
4 "You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori one should expect a chaotic world which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way. One could (yes one should) expect the world to be subjected to law only to the extent that we order it through our intelligence. Ordering of this kind would be like the alphabetical ordering of the words of a language. By contrast, the kind of order created by Newton's theory of gravitation, for instance, is wholly different. Even if the axioms of the theory are proposed by man, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the "miracle" which is being constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands": Albert Einstein, Letters to Solovine, translated by Wade Baskin, with an introduction by Maurice Solovine (New York: Philosophical Library, 1952-1987), pp. 132-133; quoted in Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti, "Si può parlare di Dion nel contesto della scienza contemporanea?", Scientia et Fides, 4/1 (2016), pp. 9-26.
5 Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, 18/XI/1965, no. 24; http://www. vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19651118_dei-verbum_ sp.html; idem, Decree Optatam totius, 28/X/1965, no. 16. http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19651028_optatam-totius_sp.html.
6 Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, 18/11/1965, no. 12.
7 "Theology has always had and continues to have need of philosophical input. Being the work of critical reason in the light of faith, the theological work presupposes and demands in all its research an educated, conceptually and argumentatively formed reason. Moreover, theology needs Philosophy as an interlocutor to verify the intelligibility and universal truth of its assertions": St. John Paul II, Encyclical Fides et ratio, 14/IX/1998, n.º 77. http://w2.vatican.va/content/john/paul-ii/es/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_14091998_fides-et-ratio.html.
8 Dawkins, R., discussion with Archbishop Rowan Williams. Oxford, 23/II/2012. The translation is mine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBYvYAa4xfU&t=222s.
9 Benedict XVI, Last Conversations with Peter Seewald. Bilbao: Mensajero 2016, pp. 289-290.
10 A very recent example of this position can be found in Carlo Rovelli, The Order of Time. New York: Riverhead Books 2018.
11 Cf. Penrose, R., The Road to Reality. A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe. London: Jonathan Cape 2004, pp. 762-765; Paul Davies, 'The nature of the laws of physics and their mysterious biofriendliness', Euresis 5 (2013), pp. 15-36; Lee Smolin, Time Reborn. From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe. Boston - New York: Houghton Mifflin 2013; Stuart A. Kauffman, Humanity in a Creative Universe. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.
12 Novo, J., Pereda, R., and Sánchez Cañizares, J., Naturaleza creativa. Madrid: Rialp 2018.
13 Cf., for example, Artigas, M., La Mente del Universo. Pamplona: Eunsa 1999, p. 53.
14 Tanzella-Nitti, G. "Si può parlare di Dion nel contesto della scienza contemporanea?", Scientia et Fides, 4/1 (2016), 9-26, pp. 13-14.
15 See, for example, Van Fraassen, B. Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective . Oxford: Clarendon Press 2008.
16 For the interested reader, I recommend the entrance of Jenann Ismael, "Quantum Mechanics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), https:// plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2015/entries/qm/.
17 Arana, J., Los sótanos del universo. La determinación natural y sus mecanismos ocultos. Madrid: Library Services Nueva 2012.
18 Sánchez Cañizares, J., "The mind-brain problem and the measurement paradox of quantum mechanics: Should we disentangle them?", NeuroQuantology 12/1 (2014), pp. 76-95.
19 Sánchez Cañizares, J., "Is compatibilism compatible with the existence of quantum correlations of the subject EPR?", Pensamiento 73/276 (2017), pp. 599-602.
20 Zurek, W. H., "Decoherence, einselection, and the existential interpretation (The Rough Guide)", in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A 356 (1998), pp. 1793-1821. The critique can be found in Javier Sánchez Cañizares, "Classicality First: Why Zurek's Existential Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics Implies Copenhagen", Foundations of Science (in press).
21 Artigas, M. Philosophy de la ciencia experimental: la objetividad y la verdad en las ciencias. Pamplona: Eunsa 1989; Luciano Floridi, The Philosophy of Information. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2011.
22 "Natural science is a spiritual activity of natural scientists working in cooperation with each other". In Edmund Husserl, Phenomenology and the Crisis of Philosophy, translated by Quentin Lauer (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1965), p. 154.
23 St. John Paul II, Encyclical Fides et ratio, 14/IX/1998, no. 83.
24 Benedict XVI, speech at the IV Italian National Assembly, 19/X/2006. http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/es/speeches/2006/october/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20061019_ convegno-verona.html